Youth Fostering Change is currently recruiting for its 2013-2014 year. Applications are due on Monday, August 16. Download the application form here.
Youth Fostering Change, one of our youth engagement programs, offers youth who are currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system the opportunity to evaluate the system and develop and implement a campaign that works toward reform. Each year, Youth Fostering Change Youth Advocates select an area of focus, determine a strategy to address it, and implement their project. Along the way, Juvenile Law Center provides essential support, ensuring that the participants develop the skills they need to succeed.
For their 2011-2012 campaign, Youth Fostering Change Youth Advocates created the "Teen Success Agreement" to facilitate better communication, collaboration, and goal-setting among older foster youth, foster parents, and social workers.
The agreement—intended to be developed and regularly reviewed by the youth, foster parent, and social worker—requires that they work together to outline age-appropriate responsibilities, rewards, consequences, activities, and life skills for the youth. The agreement also outlines caregivers' responsibilities to support the youth and help the youth achieve his or her goals.
The Teen Success Agreement is modeled after Florida's "Teen Normalcy Plan," mandated by the Florida state legislature, which outlines age-appropriate activities and responsibilities for youth ages 13-17 in licensed care and must be reviewed and approved every 90 days.
In 2010, Youth Fostering Change members developed a Discharge Hearing Form—to be used during a court hearing held prior to a youth's discharge from care—that youth could fill out and have family court judges review. This court form ensures that a youth exiting care has a meaningful and realistic plan for housing, education, employment, and health care.